Updated: Aug 22
A bright open sky
Filled with stars
Quiet and warm
A majestic tree standing in the night
A voice rising in the air
A glowing moon
An opened mind
An opened heart
A moment in time
This moment in time occurred in Japan in the fall of 2019 when traveling with my Reiki teacher Frans Stiene and a group of Reiki practitioners. Our 16-day trip aimed at exploring the system of Reiki in its original cultural environment. The comprehensive itinerary also allowed spontaneous discoveries, like this one in Atami.
That particular moment in time took place one evening, at a shrine our teacher discovered that same day. Kinomiya Shrine is lit up at night by hundreds of lanterns. That night was a night of the full moon. Our group parted to allow everyone to wander around at his/her own pace. We were the only visitors. It was a beautiful night. The air was warm. The moon was bright. The atmosphere was light and peaceful. We all walked along the various paths around the shrine until, at some point, a few of us converged near a giant camphor tree. It looked like an old tree that had a special place there. We sat on the few empty benches in front of it, in silence. Then a soft voice rose in the air, chanting.
At that moment, time suspended. Out of the stillness, I felt my heart expanding with an overwhelming feeling of bliss. Tears filled my eyes. In that wide-open space, that moment in time felt like an eternity.
After a while, the group started to move. Time was ticking again. We left returning to the hotel. I was somewhat puzzled but decided to let that be and fell asleep. A few days later I shared this experience with my teacher and my friend who chanted that night. The sacredness of the place, the wandering, the spiritual power of the tree, the gathering of the group, the moon, the stars, all joined together, at that moment in time, as a blessing.
This experience touched me so deeply that it remained ever since. It comes back at certain times as a memory and a feeling of wholeness and peaceful bliss. Not wanting to hold on to that moment, I tried to let it go in various ways also to forget it. I even thought that perhaps I had to learn the Heart Sutra, which is what my friend chanted that night so heartfully. Now, after several months, while writing this poem unexpectedly, I come to realize that a moment in time carries the entire universe. We learn about: "The universe is in me and I am the universe". We can forget the teaching, but once we experience it more fully, the awareness remains as a reminder of our non-dual nature. There is no need to do anything, no need to struggle to let go rather to simply let that awareness be.
For today only, is the first precept that creates the foundation of the other precepts:
For today only, do not anger
For today only, do not worry
For today only, be grateful
For today only, be true to yourself and your being
For today only, be compassionate to yourself and others
For today only, in each moment, we receive whatever we need in a state of open awareness and presence, without any expectation, anger, or worry. Life is a constant flow of blessings.
For today only, in each moment, past, present, and future are not separate. Each moment contains the entire universe including ourselves. Underneath our conditioning, we are whole.
For today only, in each moment, there is nothing to seek rather live our life mindfully and wholeheartedly from wherever we are. We are complete.
“When we see human life only in terms of ordinary time, where everything is chopped into separate pieces, then your eyes are not open to see life in terms of universal time, when we are interconnected and interpenetrated with all sentient beings” Dainin Katagiri – Each Moment is the Universe (quote taken from Bronwen Logan’s class For Today Only)
For more information about Kinomiya Shrine and O-Kusu, the Holy Tree, please visit this website https://livejapan.com/en/in-tokyo/in-pref-shizuoka/in-atami/article-a0000582/